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28/07/2011 / melgardener

When I was a child…Trees

This post is written in response to the story starter challenge from Leaf Journals.

Trees were different when I was a child. From a child’s perspective, trees are playthings, to be climbed up, swung from, jumped off and hidden behind. The house I grew up in had a large backyard with several very tall trees. None of these trees were particularly good for climbing but one had been equipped with a tyre on a rope which my brother and I used as a swing, and they were excellent for use as ‘goals’ in an impromptu game of soccer, or to run around and hide behind during a game of hide-and-seek.

As a child, trees always seemed to be strong and sturdy, immovable objects with immense presence. One of my biggest surprises of childhood was one night during a thunderstorm when a branch of a tree, fairly close to my bedroom window, was hit by lightning and, with an almighty ‘crack’, broke off and fell to the ground.

The funniest part of this story is that I managed to sleep through the entire event, only waking when my brother and mother came into my room to see what had made all the noise.

As an adult, trees play a very different role in my life. I see them clearly for the life-givers that they are, I now understand the intricate role they play in our environment and every time one is cut down (even for a good reason) I shed a small tear inside. Trees are a very direct connection to nature and, not being possessed of a green thumb, I have much admiration for those who can plant, grow and cultivate them.

I’ve discovered my children don’t ‘use’ trees in the same way that I did when I was young. Of course, it doesn’t help that we don’t have many large trees in our yard (planted…waiting for them to grow). There are a couple of excellent climbing trees near my daughter’s school and she has taken
delight in scrambling up them with a squirrel-like agility. I stand in agony, with heart aflutter, not wanting to curtail her adventurous spirit but  also hoping she doesn’t go too high and get stuck (who on earth would I send up to get her?).

Recently we were lucky enough to visit the Botanical Gardens in Cairns and walk through areas of preserved rainforest. Although we were only
a few minutes from the city, once inside the cavernous forest, all evidence of modern life faded away and we walked in silence, appreciating the majesty of some incredibly old and amazingly tall melaleucas (paper bark trees).

One day I have decided I will reclaim my childhood and climb another tree. I just hope I don’t leave it too late and find I’ve lost my nerve. More likely, I’ll be climbing it to rescue one of my children but if that’s the only excuse I have, then I’ll take it.

Do you have a special tree story from your childhood? Or something else from your childhood you’d like to reclaim?


One Comment

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  1. Cath / Aug 3 2011 8:10 pm

    Have fun tree climbing! I have done it a number of occasions as an adult and it is FUN! I was a bit scared as a kid to go to high, but now, I’ll go as high as the tree allows.

    Thanks for taking part in the Story Starter Challenge.

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